11-year-old goalkeeper Cruz Bajaj was offered the chance to trial with AFC Wimbledon after attending a number of our events and catching the eye of some top clubs.
Speaking with Cruz’s father Shaun, we asked him for some details on his son’s football history, he explained: “Cruz first started his football at a club called Skillz age 5 where the coaches noticed him as a potential goalkeeper at this early age.”
“At age 7 then Cruz when onto to join Volenti Academy where he continued to be a talented goalkeeper and developed his footwork more.”
He continued: “At this time Cruz also joined a grassroots team called Selsdon Tigers, in his first year Cruz was voted the best player of the season also winning many tournaments.
“He then changed his grassroots team to join his brother Jay at Chipstead F.C competing in the Surrey youth league. Again he was awarded in his first year with the manager’s player of the year award and many man of the match awards and then went on to have trials for Brighton & Hove Albion at age 9.”
Realising Cruz had talent, we asked Shaun why he decided to bring the young goalkeeper along to our events even though he was getting opportunities elsewhere, he told us: “Cruz did have a trial at Brighton & Hove Albion where he was unsuccessful. However, he continued to work hard and was given another opportunity after attending the UK Football Trials. Cruz was scouted by 9 clubs Crystal Palace, Arsenal, AFC Wimbledon, Colchester, Southend, Portsmouth, Charlton, Chelsea and Luton.”
“In April 2021 Cruz was offered a second chance at AFC Wimbledon having official trials.”
“Brighton’s feedback was to work on his distribution and they said he has great feet, a great personality and very brave and told him to continue working hard and another opportunity will come.” He added.
As a young talented player who constantly strives to work hard and improve, we asked Cruz what advice he had for players in a similar position to himself. He told us: “Keep working hard, believe in yourself try to the best of your ability to showcase yourself in the right way.”
“Have your head up at all times and opportunities will come your way. Attending the UK Football Trials was a big help to see how far I’ve come and to be scouted by 9 clubs was a big achievement which has now has given me the opportunity at having official trials with AFC Wimbledon.”
UK Football Trials would like to congratulate Cruz on trialling for AFC Wimbledon and for continuously showing a great attitude. He has not let set backs stop him from playing but instead has used them to his advantage. You can check his progress on Instagram by searching @jaycruz.b